Personal Attendant Exemption From Overtime Eliminated

California law regarding the employment of domestic workers has changed.  California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which creates California Labor Code sections 1450 to 1454.  These sections eliminate the “personal attendant” exemption from overtime pay in Industrial Welfare Commission (“IWC”) Wage Order 15. IWC Wage Order 15 applies to workers employed in household occupations.  Prior to the enactment of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (“DWBR”), IWC Wage Order 15 required that personal attendants be paid minimum wage for all hours worked, but exempted these employees from California’s overtime laws.  The DWBR eliminates this exemption and requires personal attendants to be paid overtime compensation at one and one-half times the employees’ regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 9 hours per day or 45 hours per week.

A “personal attendant” is defined by the DWBR as:

[A]ny person employed by a private householder or by any third-party employer recognized in the health care industry to work in a private household, to supervise, feed, or dress a child, or a person who by reason of advanced age, physical disability, or mental deficiency needs supervision. The status of personal attendant shall apply when no significant amount of work other than the foregoing is required. For purposes of this subdivision, “no significant amount of work” means work other than the foregoing did not exceed 20 percent of the total weekly hours worked.

Under the DWBR, a personal attendant is not entitled to overtime compensation if he or she is paid by State or county programs such as In-Home Supportive Services, or the person providing services is the “parent, grandparent, spouse, sibling, child, or legally adopted child of the domestic work employer.”

The DWBR is effective on January 1, 2014, and expires on January 1, 2017.  Pursuant to the DWBR, the Governor must convene a committee of “personal attendants or their representatives and the employers of personal attendants or their representatives” to “study and report to the Governor on the effects this part has on personal attendants and their employers.”

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